Round-up: The Sacramento area starts getting hot again with a slate of upcoming musical performances

Photograph by N. Kamalov

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s album “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” was California’s mantra for January; but now, with blue cloudless skies on the horizon, the Capital Region’s most-intriguing venues are presenting some blood-warming live action on their stages.

From the high-running banks of the Sacramento River to the rushing channels of Sutter Creek, the area’s music hubs will spotlight a spectrum of sonic talent, including local favorites, as well as artists whose songs are played from coast to coast. Below is SN&R’s preview of a number of anticipated shows between now and March.  

February 3 – Moxy lights up The Starlight Room at Harlow’s in Sacramento

Moxy the band. Courtesy photo.

Since forming three years ago, the band Moxy has stood out in Sacramento’s scene, wowing audiences with its use of timeless instruments and rare, O.G. synth gear, all of which fuels a kind of alt-pop boomerang that builds momentum under the singing of Amber DeLaRosa. In 2022, Moxy released its debut album “Dream Feeling” to showcase the scope of its creative reach. That same year, DeLaRose spoke in-depth with SN&R about the struggles she’d confronted while coping with severe epilepsy as Moxy prepared to be headline Sacramento’s Concerts In the Park series. Not only did she and her bandmates – Santino Franzino and Dryw Owens – garner wild cheering from a capacity crowd that night, they’ve since continued to hone their performance chops as Moxy keeps on its journey. Their February 3rd appearance at The Starlight Room offers the latest chance to see them in action. Santino has even promised to unveil his hidden skills on “the inflatable saxophone” for those arriving at Harlow’s. This all-age show begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes performances from Destiny Molina, Harlequin Rose and Dogpatch. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the show, and can be purchased here. Harlow’s nightclub is located at 2708 J Street in Sacramento.

February 5 – Mae McCoy and Her Neon Stars perform at The Machinist Hall in Rancho Cordova

Mae McCoy. Courtesy photo

Sacramento’s queen of heart-breakin’ honky tonk and country-swing swagger will get everyone’s boots moving when she graces the stage at the Machinist Hall in February. Mae McCoy has been turning heads around the Capital Region with her sure-shot rhythm, her sterling vocals, and the filed-down, silver-spur attitude that she brings to country music classics. McCoy’s band, the Neon Stars, bolsters her style with steal-crying sensibilities over a clean purity of twang. When she’s not getting feet tapping at local dance halls and wineries, McCoy has been hard at work inside a Texas studio on her debut album, which is being produced by Lone Star State guitarman, Justin Trevino. McCoy is eyeing a potential summer release for that song collection. Her upcoming show in Rancho Cordova is part of the “Swing Sweet Home” project, which allows segments of her band’s performance to be shared on the Western Swing Society’s Facebook as Rancho looks to showcase the return of its arts scene following the pandemic. Mae McCoy and Her Neon Starts also post numerous live performances on their Youtube channel. The Machinist Hall event includes food, libations and a hardwood dancefloor. McCoy’s show runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $10 for the general public and $7 for Western Swing Society members. The Machinist Hall is located at 2749 Sunrise Boulevard in Rancho Cordova.

February 18 – Double-fire! The Katie Knipp Band and Forever Goldrush to burn the evening down at Sacramento’s Torch Club

Left photo credit, Kevin Gomez

Blustery blues dynamism meets a rollicking freight train of hill sounds when regional all-stars The Katie Knipp Band and Forever Goldrush hold their first show together at The Torch Club. Knipp has continued to build an audience around the operatic intensity of her singing and the emotional whiplash of her lyric-writing, a style that she somehow channels through an experimental, genre-blending evolution of blues, rock and soul traditions. Knipp’s musical approach recently prompted legendary Sacramento harmonica master Mick Martin to observe that “there’s really no one like her.” Last year saw The Katie Knipp Band constantly touring in support of its latest album, “Live at The Green Room Social Club.” That record earned critical acclaim from Blues Matters magazine and has landed radio play as far afield as The United Kingdom. Forever Goldrush, on the other hand, has spent the last 25 years as an eloquent boning knife that’s carved its way into Sacramento’s music identity. With songs about everything from Delta waves to mountain darkness, their poignant welding of roots tone and sharp imagery has cultivated fans across California and made them Hall of Famers for the SAMMIE Awards. Forever Goldrush has released four albums, including the tour de force that was 2015’s “Chambers,” and have lately been performing everywhere from San Francisco to Petaluma as they track their next record. Songwriters Damon Wycoff and Josh Lacey told SN&R that the forthcoming album is being produced by Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips. It’s no coincidence that the first show featuring The Katie Knipp Band and Forever Goldrush together on one bill is happening at The Torch Club: It’s a storied venue that that both groups say holds a special place for them in Capital City. The show starts at 9 p.m. with a $15 cover. The Torch Club is located at 904 15th Street in Sacramento.  

February 11 – Sean Carscadden Trio at Sutter Creek Provisions 

Sean Carscadden. Courtesy photo

From agile night blues to slow, desert-infused surf reverberation, Sean Carscadden knows how to make his Fender six-string guitar reach through space. The wingmen in his trio – Gator Nation’s drummer Mikey Cannon and the trail-blazing bassist for Supertramp, Cliff Hugo – bring a thoughtful flow to the rhythm they put under each of Carscadden’s bending notes on the fret board. Carscadden is a three-time winner of the North Bay Bohemian Norbay Award for Best Americana Artist, though he’ll be a lot closer to Sacramento when he plays at the Gold Country’s best-known tap house. For anyone who hasn’t been to Sutter Creek Provisions, or experienced its tribute to highly crafted beer and rustic, rawhide sensibilities, they might not know yet that the venue is a lively stop for California bands like I See Hawks, not to mention national acts like Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash. That’s partly because Provisions’ owners, Casey and Darin Sexton, are deeply embedded in the Golden State’s music scene. Casey is the producer/talent-buyer behind Casey Sexton Presents, while Darin is the front man of the rock group Darin Sexton & Highway 49. Having just hosted Dos Hombres Jazz on their stage, the Sextons are looking forward to switching gears with the Sean Carscadden Trio on February 11, allowing regional fans to see what the North Bay has been so excited about. The show starts at 7 p.m. with a $10 cover at the door. Sutter Creek Provisions is located at 78 Main St, Sutter Creek.

February 22 – Stephen Marley plays Sacramento’s Crest Theatre with Mike Love

Stephen Marley. Courtesy photo

For years Stephen Marley has kept the frenetic freedom emanating in Bob Marley’s music alive, while also managing to establish his own identity as a singer-songwriter. In the aftermath of their father’s passing, Stephen and Ziggy Marley became torch-bearers for the ringing reggae of Kingstown, Jamaica. What Stephen Marley has accomplished on that front with “Mind Control,” “Mind Control Acoustic” and “Revelation Part I: The Root of Life” shows that family traditions don’t just hold strong sometimes – they can evolve in fascinating ways. The visionary behind Lion Den Studios, Stephen Marely also recently produced a collection of songs with female vocalists as an homage to Nina Simone, “Celebrating Nina: A Reggae Tribute to Nina Simone.” This prolific artist’s February 22nd show at the historic Crest Theatre in Sacramento will include a special appearance by Mike Love. Marley’s show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $34.50 to $52.50 and can be purchased here. The Crest Theatre is located at 1013 K Street in Sacramento.   

March 3 – John Craigie steps into the spotlight at The Sofia Theatre in Sacramento

John Craigie. Courtesy photo,

One of the truly unforgettable standouts of the West Coast festival circuit, John Craigie has proven a songwriter who can fuse contagious melodies, downhome guitar hooks and introspective, sometimes hilarious lyrics into one vibrant experience. His songs like “I Almost Stole Some Weed from Todd Snider” have found plenty of listeners on the digital airwaves, though Craigie’s evolution as a performer has more recently earned praise from Rolling Stone magazine, which hailed his “easygoing banter, observational humor and quirky songs” as elements that set him apart from anyone in the folk-Americana genre. Craigie’s latest album, “Mermaid Salt,” is being deemed a masterstroke of musical storytelling. He’ll play Sacramento’s marquee venue, Sofia Theatre, on March 3 as part of touring for that album. Ticket prices range from $28 to $38 and can be purchased here. The show starts at 8 p.m. The Sofia Theatre is located at 2700 Capitol Avenue in Sacramento.  

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